McALLEN, Texas (AP) - Convicted Gulf Cartel captain Carlos
Landin Martinez wants his bling back.
But the federal government says Landin used drug money to buy
the jewel-encrusted pendant of St. Jude, patron saint of lost
causes. The feds say that makes it theirs.
Neither side will budge, so it'll be up to a South Texas jury to
decide the case United States vs. Two Pieces of Jewelry.
Landin was wearing the St. Jude pendant when he was nabbed by a
federal agent. It's 10 karats of gold studded with 128 diamonds, 36
emeralds and one ruby hanging from a 24-inch, 14-karat gold chain.
It's all valued at $12,400.
The portly middle-aged Landin was convicted of drug trafficking
charges for collecting "taxes" from drug traffickers who wanted
to use valuable smuggling routes controlled by the Gulf Cartel.
They said the retired Tamaulipas state police investigator was the
Gulf Cartel's No. 2 man in Reynosa, Mexico.
An off-duty U.S. drug agent arrested him at a McAllen
supermarket where Landin was buying watermelon last year.
The federal lawsuit to keep the jewelry surprised Landin's
defense team. His attorney, Eric Jarvis, contends the feds want to
keep the pieces of jewelry merely to have a trophy of Landin's
arrest and conviction.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)